Tom Bowerman asks how Slusher’s Schlong became a UO priority

4/23/2018: One of a series of op-eds and stories this week showing the disagreements over the $200M proposal to teardown and replace Hayward Field, and the secretive process Nike and UO are using to design and build it:

In the RG:

Bill Bowerman, my dad, contributed a lot to putting Hayward Field and Oregon on the track world’s map and in the heart of this community. In his retirement I asked him what he thought about the trajectory of college athletics. He said that if he had the choice between the trend toward sports professionalism or a low-key club-sport approach, he much preferred intramural athletics where sports fills a secondary role in a university education. My brother Jay affirms this recollection.

As the University of Oregon’s track coach, my dad was well known for developing local talent rather than chasing after world renowned stars. I believe he’d much prefer investing millions of dollars in scholarships for low-income Oregon kids to expanding Hayward Field to accommodate the extremely rare occasion when the stadium might seat 30,000.

… I’ve read an estimate of $200 million for the rebuild, but I suspect this is more than just the grandstand. But if true, that would pay the current annual tuition of 833 Oregon students in perpetuity if treated as a scholarship endowment. Of course this isn’t necessarily a zero sum game — but still, it’s a sobering consideration.

Doubtful, but perhaps it is time to call for our deeper and longer community priorities to rise to the top of decision-making.

Ken Goe in the Oregonian:

Designs for the new Hayward Field, presented yesterday in a ceremony at the track’s northwest corner, had a big wow factor.

It’s the details that were in short supply.

UO president Michael Schill, UO foundation president and CEO Paul Weinhold, and UO associate athletic director Vin Lananna struggled to answer basic questions about the exact number of permanent seats in the new stadium, and how many of the seats would be covered by the transparent roof at the top of the stadium.

It’s hard to see from the renderings how the stadium will more than double its seating capacity from somewhere between 12,000 and 13,000 to 30,000 simply by filling in around the open north end with temporary bleachers.

I’m sure there are answers to these questions. But the people who could provide them weren’t available.

Lead donors Phil and Penny Knight weren’t. Nor was anyone from the architectural firm SRG Partnership. Nor was anyone from Hoffman Construction, set to do the razing and reconstruction. Nor was semi-retired Nike troubleshooter Howard Slusher, the man who reportedly ramrodded the new design.

The process has been secretive from the start and excluded many people who have had a long emotional investment in track and field in this state and at the University of Oregon in particular.

That has led to a backlash from those who have spent a significant portion of their lives watching meets at what has been called historic Hayward Field. …

4/17/2018: UO unveils historic new Hayward Field, with weird fat blunt add-on

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27 Responses to Tom Bowerman asks how Slusher’s Schlong became a UO priority

  1. Environmental necessity says:

    This is absolutely heartbreaking, all the spin about excellence notwithstanding.

    And if UO loses me, they will lose a lot of people. Grew up in town. My entire family went to the UO. Some of my earliest memories are seeing Pre run. Track athlete myself. Watched probably a 100 meets over the years. Favorite sport Oregon does.

    If you lose me, you are just choosing to ignore your most loyal and effusive supporters.


    For shame.

    • uograd says:

      It sucks. Totally aesthetically out of proportion to the surrounding campus. Another Knight monument to architects’ desire to do something unique and ignore the historic beauty of the UofO campus, much like the Jacqua building. I’m through contributing to the UofO. It’s totally run by the rich power elites, much to the disadvantage of its students, faculty, alumni and the people of Oregon.

  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    I am confident that this will be every bit as successful as the Knight arena has been.

    • Simplius Simplicissimus says:

      I am SO sorry. How naive of me. I thought it was the digitus tertius manus.

  3. UO Community Member says:

    I can’t imagine why wealthy donors think this is a good idea. Last time I checked Track and Field is not a weekly event.

    Admittedly it is a very good looking facility. However, I would have preferred if they found a way to fit the east grandstand into the new design, even if it meant a complete tear down and modernized rebuild of the east grandstand.

    Oregon now has the venues in place to host a future Pan Am games (is the goal Olympics???). However, Mr. Knight might not live long enough to see this dream realized, so why the effort?

    • Inquiring Minds says:

      Meanwhile Springfield is smartly looking into an indoor track venue development project — something that is sorely needed in this area!
      The New Hayward (or perhaps it will be renamed the Knight O-ring?) will most likely have tickets priced out of range of most of the community and so most of the time lots of empty seats.

  4. Dog says:

    This is just like Matt Arena
    it is simply out of scale proportion
    relative to the size of the local community.

  5. Bad plan says:

    Here’s the thing: Even if you hate the East Grandstand and even if you love the proposed stadium, there is no argument that this head fake, no input, fast track planning process can be acceptable.

    If you think otherwise, just get it over and officially change the name to University of Nike and declare Phil President for Life.

    The planning process here is awful and will poison the well for many long time fans.

  6. C1133 says:

    Why can’t they just use Autzen, and let us keep Hayward Field?

    • Charlie says:

      Because multi sport athletic venues make financial sense. When has that been a priority for U of Owe building projects?

  7. mark says:

    Priapus Field, anyone?

  8. Publius says:

    Does the plan say where people will park?

  9. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    This is just mindless kow-towing on the part of the current administration and trustees to Phil Knight. In the ever more futile-looking hope that he will uncork a billion or two more for the “old campus” before or when he goes. It did not start with Schill — it goes all the way back to Dave Frohnmayer, at least — but it is becoming more and more egregious with each new monument.

    As others have noted, the plan, while striking, is discordant with what remains of the charm of the “old campus”; it is on way too small a site — UO always having had a campus that was too small for the future; the parking while be a nightmare, and the imposition on the surrounding neighborhood, which is already being stressed greatly, will be enormous.

    All for what?

    Phil, has anyone ever made a good pitch for what you could do to REALLY help UO, in a way that would last? I know, the Knight campus especially could help. But there is so much else …..

  10. Publius says:

    I raise the parking issue because that is what sank the original plan to build “Mat” Court on the site where “Mac” Court now is. The parking issue was raised in the University Senate at the time as it mainly impacted a neighborhood of faculty and students, the S Eugene neighborhood. It led to several meetings where the adm was obliged to show its analysis of the parking impact. I attended a meeting on this as a member of the Senate with the Pres + Provost, raising this concern. Have there been any studies of the parking impact?

  11. Publius says:

    More information on parking, traffic, etc.: These issues are properly addressed when the university applies for a conditional use permit to build a new stadium. The university tried to avoid this step in building Mat Court to replace Mac Court. The upshot was a lawsuit from the neighborhood, plus pressure from faculty etc; eventually, as previously noted, plans to build it there were dropped. I assume the university will try to bypass the conditional use permit requirement here as well. It will probably argue that a 30-50 percent increase in seating capacity will have a negligible impact on parking, traffic, etc.; obviously nonsense. The threat of another lawsuit, though, would have some force as there is a time constraint in building this. Anyway, clearly an issue that the university community as a whole, starting with the faculty, should engage.

  12. uomatters says:

    I’m wondering where the playing fields and practice areas behind Hayward will go. North Campus, next to the Willamette?

  13. Hayward to Civic says:

    Could the historic Hayward grandstand be moved to the Civic site to replace the grandstand that burned down?
    It may be too big to go in one piece, but how about semi-dismantled and then rebuilt? Maybe Mr. Knight would kick in some funding for the move. It could generate a lot of community good will and a cool Just Do It commercial. There could be a big parade with the move straight down 18th.
    For inspiration, check out how UW moved 250-ton Cunningham hall a decade ago:

    • Charlie says:

      Man, thanks for the vid! That was cool!

      On top of the goodwill, it would be an outstanding project for the engineering department to give their students hand on experience. Just imagine the collaboration needed between the various disciplines in order to carry out the project.

      Oh, wait….

  14. The Truth says:

    “We Smoked It All”

  15. New Year Cat says:

    I absolutely fail to see why we must have the Best In the World here. We are not the Best University in the World — and won’t be as long as attention and resources are focussed far more on sports than ever on academics, even including the new science project. At this point we should spin off all our sports as pro and be done with it. (Not to mention this is one of the Worst-Looking Designs in the World. Priapus, indeed!)

  16. Permanent Skeptic says:

    It didn’t take long for the PR flaks to bring in what I’m sure is just the first of the former track folks who will be lending credibility™ to this whole Priapus Field debacle. Message received! It’s clearly time to start doubling down on how the “meaning” of Hayward isn’t the field itself, even thought they manufactured the whole “Historic Hayward Field” narrative in the first place. The real meaning is spirit and enthusiasm… err, excellence? Don’t ask questions — especially about those silly old memories (an assertion put forward in an essay OF OLD MEMORIES) — just enjoy the magic!

    Not exactly the opening line the flaks were hoping for, I’m sure: “I have not seen the design for the new Hayward Field stadium, therefore I cannot offer an opinion.” Strangely fitting…

  17. Eugenenative says:

    I don’t think they have any idea what they are losing.

  18. Ellis Lawrence says:

    Reaction from the Historic Preservation program? Crickets.